Sharapova Splits With Connors, Dumps Him After One Defeat

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After an early exit at Wimbledon Maria Sharapova announced that she was parting company with long-time coach Thomas Hogstedt and would be working with Jimmy Connors going forward. Connors seemed to have just what Sharapova needed to overcome her nemesis Serena Williams… Incredible tennis knowledge and mental toughness as illustrated throughout his playing career over more than 2 decades, with 5 straight years as World No. 1, and eight Grand Slam singles titles.

“His philosophy is there’s no substitute for hard work. He certainly emphasizes that in every single practice.”At this stage of my career, no one’s going to come in and change something drastically. But his experience and work ethic are priceless. It’s been nice.” Said Sharapova.

However, it seems there must have been some king of personality clash, as after just one match with Connors in charge (loss to Sloane Stephens in Cincinnati), it seems that the partnership is over. Connors was seen shaking his head several times while courtside as Sharapova lost in an error-strewn performance and subsequently made a quick exit from the grounds.

The split will leave Sharapova without a coach going into the US Open in a couple of weeks and the barrage of negative publicity is just what she doesn’t need as she tries to turn he current dip in form around.

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1 comments
tony baloney
tony baloney

Only yesterday I was questioning the role Connors would play in Maria's team and therefore how long would he last? Would he be a serious coach who would want to make a difference or would he be willing to accept he would be working for brand Sharapova not the tennis player and make the most of the gravy train? Tennis has become a means to an end for Maria. An outlet for her competitive instincts on the one hand but more importantly providing the balance between her identity as strong, successful athlete and the candy making, magazine cover model/ business woman. She needs  to hang on to the former to keep the latter relevant. Connors though, was dedicated to winning tennis matches. I imagine it would be difficult for him to accept the distractions from what he would think Maria needed to do on the practice court. Yet another photoshoot or candy promotion. Then there is also Dimitrov. Since he has been on the scene she has gone into a decline. 

No doubt Connors gave an opinion Maria didn't like. She didn't expect or want drastic changes to be made to her game. After all this would mean doing something other than turning up to the practice court to keep the existing skills ticking over. This takes more effort and dedication than she is willing to make at the expense of her other ventures. She seemed to like the credibility and work ethic he brought. But there is a difference between Thomas Hochsted the coach who was a mediocre tennis player, whose reputation has been formed through the players he has coached and Connors the multi slam winner whose reputation is based on how he played the game. Connors and Maria share a single minded determination on the court but for Maria, that now only extends so far off it.